Sunday, March 3, 2024

Binge drinking turns Letlhakane village into a giant “Animal House”

Despite traditional believe that “drink provokes the desire, but takes away the performance,” randy Letlhakane men are defying brewer’s droop and turning the small village outside Orapa into  a rape and defilement hellhole after binging on potent unregulated booze.Police in the village have registered 106 cases or rape and 27 cases of defilement in 2019 and blamed the “Animal House” behaviour on excessive drinking of potent unregulated alcohol.

This was revealed by Letlhakane Police Station Commander Superintendent Michael Maphephu in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Standard last week. From January to December last year the police recorded 106 cases of rape and 27 cases of defilement. As the New Year 2020 begins, three rape cases have already been recorded. “Letlhakane has various wards and has small settlements in the outskirts. Last year we recorded a very disturbing number of rape and defilement cases. We had 106 cases of rape and 27 cases of defilement. The incidents are worsened by the high drinking rate of traditional beer especially “Khadi” in these various settlements including cattle posts. After drinking you will find that 20 people would sleep in the same yard and that is when some of the rape and defilement incidents happen,” said a clearly worried Maphephu. 

He further said that the other factor is that some of the houses in these settlements are not secure becoming a target for rapists. Maphephu revealed that the age range of victims is from nine to 50 years. He said most of the time they arrest the culprits. “People in these settlements know each other and it becomes easy for us to arrest the perpetrators and they are prosecuted. Some of the rape and defilement crimes are perpetrated by relatives of victims or people who are well known in these settlements. However we do have repeat offenders,” he said. Maphephu added that the most vulnerable groups of rape targets are the children, the disabled and the elderly. He however said that it is possible that some of the rape victims do not report the perpetrators due to fear or stigma.Ultimately these victims end up with depression even to the extent of committing suicides. He said sadly, these perpetrators would then repeat the offences. Some of the wards that are mostly affected in Letlhakane include Phase 1, Tawana, Extension and Sekwe Ward.

“Khwee village in the outskirts of Letlhakane is also one of the most affected villages,” he said. Maphephu also said that one of the factors that leads to rape incidents is that after drinking beer in these settlements, women have the tendency to walk alone in the middle of the night becoming soft targets for rapists. On a positive note he said the police and other stake-holders are currently intensifying campaigns even in cattle posts to purge these criminal activities. “We decided to include the cattle posts this time around because whenever we call Kgotla meetings people in the cattle posts are left behind as they never attend. A significant number of these incidents happen in the cattle posts,” said Maphephu. He is worried that more often whenever they call Kgotla meetings, men hardly attend as compared to their female counterparts. He said that the other strategy that they have put in place as part of the campaigns is that they visit bars, shebeens and spread the message about rape and defilement. They work hand in hand with organizations such as BONELA and Men Sector. 

“Last year in November we did a massive procession where we partnered with various media houses to try and spread the message about these incidents,” he said. On what the police are doing to help rape victims, Maphephu said they send them for counseling at health facilities. He also said they have counseling experts at police stations. He however said some of the victims do not honor appointments for counseling.


Read this week's paper